One of the first things I was told to do while I was in Northern Thailand was to go on what they call a “hilltribe trek,” which as I’m sure you can figure out, is a backpacking trip through the forest/jungle where you visit various settlements of people, usually in the middle of nowhere.
I traveled to Pai straight from Chiang Mai, where I had celebrated Songkran, Thailand’s new years, which is a countrywide water fight, yes I said water fight, with super soakers and trash cans full of water being dumped on innocent passerbys (I’m not sure I ever had the chance to write about Songkran, but you better believe I will make sure I get that chance soon! Followed with MANY pictures of this once in a lifetime – or if you want, every year – event).
Anyways, I digressed, Songkran can do that to you, but I took a bus from Chiang Mai to Pai and when I landed in this very small town, I went straight to sign up for one of these treks. The only one I found was a 2 day, 1 night trek, which was a bit disappointing for me because I wanted a serious, grueling, arduous backpacking trip through the wilderness, but I took what I could get (I later had a trek like this in Laos, and honestly, could have done without the “grueling” and “arduous” part, although it was a fun experience…more on that later).
As we set out on our trek, we happened across a village that was celebrating a wedding. I wrote about the experience I had at the ceremony here. While the ceremony was happening, there was a party going on right outside (I guess in Thailand the party starts even before the bride and groom have said their vows). The party consisted of free-flowing Beer Chiang and a computer hooked up to a couple microphones for, you guessed it, karaoke.
Did I ever think that I would be karaoking on my first hilltribe trek? Definitely not. Was I a big karaokier (not even sure if that’s a word) myself? Not really. Was I going to sing? You bet.
I can’t really remember how we chose songs. I have a faint memory that they had a short list of songs to pick from. But nonetheless, I chose “My heart will go on” by Celine Dion. I mean, that was the obvious choice, right?
Well, lets say, I wasn’t the star of my Pai debut. The man to my right, not sure what his name was, definitely rocked the Titanic ballad harder than I did. But I sure tried. He got so into it, I had to reciprocate.
I mean here I was, in the middle of the wilderness of Northern Thailand, probably a few hours walking distance from any “city”, on the biggest adventure of my life, all by myself (other than all the other people around me, but all by myself in the sense that I knew no one), and I was singing “My Heart Will Go On” at a random couple’s wedding.
This definitely goes down in my book as the most memorable karaoke experience I think I’ll ever have…unless I’m in a duet with the actual Celine Dion, whereas in that case, that might win.
But right now, this is definitely it.